Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Teaching Certificate & Education Background

I'm recovering from yesterday's surgery; everything went fine, though I'm supposed to take it easy the rest of the week.

Anyway, at Monday's Stand For Children interview there were some questions about the phase "certified teacher" in my profile. Since I expect many of you are curious about what exactly that means, I thought it would be good to clarify here.

Essentially it means just what it sounds like: I have a teaching certificate. It was issued by the State of New Jersey Department of Education in July 1991, certifying me as a Teacher of Mathematics. I earned it by minoring in education as an undergrad, under Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program. ( It involved taking various education-related classes, culminating in a semester of student teaching at a local public high school.

I should clarify that having the certificate does not mean I am currently legally licensed to teach high school: As I do not teach public school in Oregon, I never investigated the local licensing rules. I'm sure there would be various paperwork and possibly additional classes required, if I were to decide to leave Intel to teach in a public school.

However, I have kept up my interest in teaching, as you have probably seen in my background. During my summers in grad school, I taught in the summer programs of some prestigious high schools: Northfield Mt Hermon, Phillips Academy at Andover, and the American School in Switzerland. When I moved to the Hillsboro area, I taught English to immigrants in various local programs from 1995-2000. I also have taught mathematics at University of Phoenix Online, and during the past three months developed and taught an original graduate Computer Science class on "Formal Verification", my specialty at Intel. (Syllabus at And, in addition, I have been hosting and producing a free educational podcast, "Math Mutation", available at, for the past two years.

So, how does all this relate to my school board campaign? I'm sure you'll see that I'm bringing many elements from my 14 years at Intel into the central ideas of my statement: results orientation, freedom to innovate, and responsible use of technology. But it's a common criticism of people coming from the business world that they don't really understand what a teacher's life is like, and that bringing business-inspired ideas to the classroom is naive. I believe that having both a varied education background and real industry experience, I am an ideal candidate to help bring together the best ideas from both worlds, to continue Hillsboro's progress towards a truly world-class school system.

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